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Kenneth Branagh Knighted At Buckingham Palace

Kenneth Branagh has received his knighthood from the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

The Oscar-nominated actor, director and screenwriter, known for his Shakespeare works and more recently as Swedish detective Wallander on the BBC, was knighted in the Queen's birthday honours in June.

The Belfast-born 51-year-old was made a knight bachelor for services to drama and the community of Northern Ireland.

He joins the likes of Sir Alec Guinness, Sir Michael Caine, Sir Patrick Stewart, Sir Ben Kingsley and Sir Laurence Olivier in becoming a thespian knight.

Sir Kenneth, who directed the recent Hollywood blockbuster Thor and featured in the Olympics opening ceremony this year, said he felt "humble, elated and incredibly lucky" at the award.

"When I was a kid I dreamed of pulling on a shirt for the Northern Ireland football team," he said.

"I could only imagine how proud you might feel. Today it feels like they just gave me the shirt and my heart's fit to burst."

Sir Kenneth spent his early years in Northern Ireland, where he is now honorary president of the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action, which supports all the organisations in the voluntary and community sector.

He moved to Reading with his family when he was nine, where he reportedly first adopted an English accent to avoid bullying.

He first met the Queen in 1980 when she saw him play Hamlet as a 19-year-old drama student.

Sir Kenneth was in good company at Buckingham Palace as other investitures saw two British servicemen awarded the Military Cross for bravery.

Corporal Carl Taylor, from Birmingham, ran 80 feet across open ground under Taliban fire to rescue three terrified young Afghan children, using his own body as a shield as he carried the boys, aged between three and seven, back to their distraught mothers.

Bombardier Mark Carpenter of the Royal Artillery was also awarded the Military Cross, and four firefighters from Nottinghamshire were awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal for acts of exemplary bravery.